Slow Travel: where it’s come from and where it’s going
The term ‘slow travel’ is gradually becoming more well-known in the world of tourism, with travellers turning to this philosophy when planning their trips. But what does it really mean, where does it come from, and why is it emerging now? With a little history and time all will be revealed!
Origins of slow travel
Despite its prominence nowadays, the term slow travel is merely a sub-branch of a bigger cultural phenomenon: the Slow Movement. The slow movement encourages taking a breath and unsurprisingly slowing your pace in life to make sure you get the most out of your experiences. In short, its about quality over quantity. Over the years the ‘slow’ idea has spread to cover many different aspects of culture; slow fashion, slow living, slow technology, to name a few. The idea eventually spread as far as travel. In the 19th century, European travel writers disagreed with the growing trend of speed within tourism since the real experience of travelling was lost with the incorrect prioritisation of quantity over quality. Instead, the writers favoured slow travel.
Slow travel essentially consists of two key parts: physical slow travel and cultural immersion. In finding a slower form of transport you can appreciate more the journey to a final destination and not just the destination itself. For example, by hopping on a plane you get from A to B in the quickest time, but have you considered what sights you could have seen and people you could have met on the way? It seems a shame that in anticipating the final destination you might run the risk of underappreciating all there is in-between.
The other key aspect of slow travel is cultural immersion. This means that the community becomes really important because engaging with the local community offers the most authentic experience for travellers. What’s more, immersing yourself means taking your time in that place, spending more than a few days there in order to truly get to know your new surroundings rather than passing over them in a rush. Slow travel means taking time to appreciate places at a deeper level.
How can I plan a trip with the slow travel philosophy?
If this style of travelling interests you, here’s a few tips on how you can participate in slow travel:
- Think twice about your travel plans: look into some different travel options which would give you the opportunity to stop off at different places along the way. Make the experience about the journey and not just about the final destination. If a plane is necessary, you could look into flights with an extended stopover time so you can really explore at your own pace. Airlines have recently increased their variety of stopover locations so there’s now more options than ever!
- Research the country and plan accordingly: see if you can coordinate your trip with a national festival or local event. Experiencing an important cultural event is a sure way to engage with the culture and the people.
- Keep it local: if it’s possible, look to establish a connection with a local. Knowing the local knowledge will open the door to a really authentic experience. The idea of local extends to food too; make sure to try the local foods and aim for organic produce and you’ll be going back to the roots of the slow movement by incorporating slow food into your experience too!
- Research small companies at your destination: if you’re going to sign up to any activities on your travels, make sure you look for the smaller companies. The experiences they offer are likely to be more personalised and authentic so you avoid the risk of tourist traps.
At Entrelenguas, we support slow travel and the slow movement, and we want to encourage this philosophy so that everyone can get the most out of their travels. You can find out how the Entrelenguas team and one of the founding members of the company, discovered the slow tourism movement, and why it is so important for them. Next time you travel, do it responsibly!